Air conditioning firm fined after worker's fall

Air conditioning firm fined after worker's fall 25692

An air conditioning company that also manufacturers heating and ventilation units has been fined for safety failures that may lead an employee to claiming compensation for a work accident.

Neil Pearson, 27, from Teesside, suffered a strain to his right arm and fractures to his left wrist and hand after he fell nearly three metres at the Newburn Industrial Estate site near Newcastle on November 1st 2012.

Newcastle Magistrates Court heard that Mr Pearson was sent by his employer - HLA Services - to the site so he could carry out repairs on a broken extraction unit.

Mr Pearson and his colleague began their work without incident and the 27-year-old climbed a ladder to unfasten two clips attaching a rain cover to the top of the extractor.

Magistrates were told he then stepped off the ladder and stood on a small lip in front of the unit so he could reach around to the back of it, but when his colleague moved the platform he was standing on, he became unstable and fell to the ground.

Mr Pearson was rushed to hospital, but after undergoing two operations and wearing a brace on his left arm for four months, still he struggles with movement and grip in his left hand and has had to leave his job and retrain in a new profession.

A Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigation found workers had not been provided with risk assessments and work at height was not properly planned.

HLA Services was fined £10,000 and told to pay £710.50 in costs after it pleaded guilty to a breach of regulations relating to its health and safety failings.

After the hearing had finished, HSE inspector Sal Brecken said, "This was a wholly avoidable incident resulting in serious injury.

"Work at height is inherently fraught with risk. It is therefore essential that it is properly planned, managed and monitored to ensure it is carried out safely and that all necessary precautions are taken to prevent falls and protect workers."

By Chris Stevenson